Genesis 1 – 11 recounts the story of the Creation of the heavens, earth, and mankind, the fall of man into sin, and God’s original covenant with Moses. From these chapters in Genesis, many of the questions of life are answered for us. We learn whether there is a God, where we came from, how to tell right from wrong, and what our relationship with God should be. Genesis 1 – 11 sets down an early guide for us on how we should live our lives to honor God, how we can learn from past human errors, and how to deepen our relationship with God, all of which can help to shape our worldview.
Right away in Genesis, we learn the story of creation and that God exists and created the heavens, earth, mankind, and all of the creatures that live on earth. Genesis 1:27 shows that life was created by God, stating “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (NIV). This helps us learn right away the relationship to God that we have. God created us in His image and created us to be perfect. God also, however, gave us the ability to sin by giving us free will.
Genesis 5:1-32 shows again that man was created by God and shows that man descended from Adam and Eve, even listing the descendants and how long they lived. By showing how God created life, man, and all the creatures on earth, Genesis helps us to understand how we should relate to Him and how we should view His creation. God created perfect humans and God created a perfect world. But He also left the ability for us to choose whether we remained perfect.
One thing we definitely learn from the story of original sin in Genesis is that our God is a loving God. Once Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit, God very easily could have struck them down and started mankind over again. Instead, God allowed Adam and Eve to live on, casting them out from the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3:23. Shortly after this, we also read the story of Cain and Able, with Cain killing his brother Able. God again does not strike down the sinner, but choses to again cast Cain out from the land in which he was living. And while God could have chosen to punish Cain by
making it so that he could not have children, God was loving in allowing Cain to reproduce with his wife and also allowing Adam and Eve to reproduce again, giving them another son to replace Able.
God showed love by not being too harsh on the sinners. This goes helps us to form our view of God. It shows us that God is not just a loving God, but He is also a forgiving God also. Allowing mankind to carry on even after such heinous acts instead of starting over again with a more perfect species shows us that our God is a great God and we should strive to live a life that will honor His love and forgiveness.
As we read further along into Genesis, we see the lineage from the time of Adam until the time of Noah. We see that sin has started to run rampant in the world before Noah’s time. But we also learn in Genesis 6:9b that “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God” (NIV). This is to say that Noah was following the pathway set down before him to live a life honoring God. Because Noah was living in this way, God spared Noah. God would send a great flood to earth to destroy all of mankind. God, however, made the first covenant with Noah, saying that because of how they lived their lives, He would spare them from the flood and allow them to continue mankind’s rule over the earth. This shows us not only that there are repercussions for our sins, but that God also will love and spare those who are living in a way that honors Him.
Because Noah and his family were righteous, God made another covenant with them, showing them a rainbow after the flood and making the promise to never bring such destruction upon His people again. This shows us the relationship that God had with us as humans and the value that God put in promises. It also shows what God was willing to do to our civilization as a punishment for not living a righteous life that honored Him. Although God made the covenant to never bring this destruction upon us again, we need to know the power of God and what He could do to us if He wanted.
After the great flood, we see the blood lines of Noah and his family. Genesis then turns its attention to the Tower of Babel. Mankind was building a tower, hoping that it would be able to reach to heaven. But when God saw this, He decided that His people would become too content and may try to make things too easy for themselves. He therefore created different languages for all of His people to speak and spread His people all around the earth. God wanted civilization to have many different roots and many different stories. If we were to flourish as a people, we would need to be able to spread our wings. This was the start of many different civilizations that still exist in our world today. We learn that God doesn’t want us to have one story from which to learn, He wants us to have many stories from which we can learn different lessons.
Genesis 1 – 11 gives us the first guidelines for what we can expect from God and how we should try to honor Him with our lives. We learn that our God is a loving and forgiving God, that we learn that God created us in His image, that God wants us to rule over the earth, that God will spare those whom He thinks are living a life to honor Him, and that God created many different civilizations from which we can learn many different lessons. Genesis 1 – 11 is a great start to learning more about ourselves, learning more about God, and learning more about how we should view this world with which God has blessed us.